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Jacques Rivette


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An extended take on the innovator of the French New Wave

About the Author

Mary M. Wiles is a lecturer in cinema studies at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.


"A very useful and thoughtful book. In this critical study of Jacques Rivette, Mary M. Wiles situates Rivette within many strands of French culture and makes his films more legible. Wiles's discussion is well-informed, provocative, suggestive, and reliable, and her fanaticism about Rivette is contagious."--Jonathan Rosenbaum, author of Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia: Film Culture in Transition

The colossal length of many of Jacques Rivette's films (they average between two-and-a-half and three hours, though some far exceed that) likely daunts many filmgoers and may explain the lack of in-depth criticism published on this French New Wave director. Wiles (cinema studies, Univ. of Canterbury, New Zealand) gives Rivette his due by presenting what is only the second comprehensive study of the director to be published in English (Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith's 2009 collaboration was the first). Wiles's work is notable for her analysis of Rivette's films revolving around the theater, a recurring theme favored by the director as it has enabled him to develop and put together individual slices of theater life that collectively achieve realism. Other themes explored include female empowerment, male-female relationships, and conspiracies. For the latter, Wiles examines the Zeitgeist of France as depicted by Rivette, from the country's defeat in Indochina to the conservative backlash of the 1970s. Wiles rightfully positions Rivette as an experimental filmmaker who pushes the envelope of conventional narrative to give film a continual facelift. VERDICT A riveting study of an often-overlooked director.-Victor Or, Surrey Libs., B.C. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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